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Special Commendation

Dr. Patrick Kochanek: A “Wild Ride” Olé!… 20 Years of Editorial Genius, Drive, and Vision

Nadkarni, Vinay MD, MS, FAAP, FCCM1,2; Kissoon, Niranjan MD, FRCP(C), FAAP, FCCM, FACPE3,4,5

Author Information
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: January 2021 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 5-7
doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000002636
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Launched in July 2000 as a collaborative effort between the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies (WFPICCS), Pediatric Critical Care Medicine (PCCM) is the first scientific, peer-reviewed journal to focus exclusively on the challenges and breakthroughs in pediatric critical care practice and research. As such, PCCM is not a typical journal. It is committed to including professionals from all disciplines within the field, and it has a global scope.

On the occasion of Dr. Patrick Kochanek’s transition from Editor-in-Chief (EIC) to emeritus status after 20 years of service to PCCM, we were invited to interview the ‘Pat’-riarch of the journal and summarize a few of his extraordinary accomplishments. The following is an account of the interview, but to give some context to the how and why of what follows, it is important to realize a few of the traits of our friend and colleague. First, and perhaps foremost, Pat has always projected the demeanor of a mad scientist; his trail-blazing and pioneering work at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, University of Pittsburgh, and the long-line of successful mentees is testament to his exceptional leadership in research and dedication as a mentor to a generation of clinician-scientists. Second, Pat has always been much more than a typical editor. He has incited, cultivated, and nurtured PCCM to its present status as a premier pediatric journal by being a citizen of the world, a supporter of the WFPICCS, and an SCCM statesman. Third, at a personal level, Pat has always embraced adapting to changing times, he had the foresight and genius to make good decisions, and the drive to persist tirelessly.

Pat fondly describes the milestones, landmarks, and lessons learned during his EIC tenure as a “…wild ride…”. He humbly attributes his success to the unceasing support of Marci Provins, PCCM editorial assistant (Pittsburgh Office), and the many “…good ideas that were brought to me, …I simply listened and executed them!” Pat recalls the early mentorship by Joe Parrillo (EIC, Critical Care Medicine), Geoff Barker (President, WFPICCS), and Ann Thompson (Executive Council, SCCM). Joe Parrillo was the interim EIC for the first few issues of PCCM. Geoff Barker knew everyone in the world of WFPICCS. Ann Thompson provided support from SCCM.

The first issue of PCCM in July 2000 (1) had five original articles, and each have now been cited over 300 times. Pat recalled the early years when the journal was published quarterly, submission rate was 100 manuscripts per year, and 60% of submissions were accepted. “Everyone liked the editor in those days. If you had a good idea and a few patients, it was published!” By 2020, the journal was a monthly publication, had grown to more than 1,200 manuscript submissions per year, and the 20% acceptance rate is highly competitive. Along the way, there have been important milestones and landmarks for the journal.

In 2002, the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury and Sepsis Investigators (PALISI) group was formed under the leadership of Adrienne Randolph. It now has more than 50 publications in PCCM (see, including a notable recent consensus document on acute lung injury (2). In the same year, Anthony Chang proposed converting the Miami Pediatric Cardiac Annual Meeting into a new section in PCCM for Cardiac Intensive Care that would parallel and foster the growth and development of the specialty. In 2003, the landmark publication of the Guidelines for the Acute Medical Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in Infants, Children, and Adolescents (under Pat’s leadership) brought new funding and a focus on evidence-based medicine (4). That single publication in PCCM has been cited more than 1,000 times (3). By 2005, PCCM attained listing in the National Library of Medicine’s search engine, PubMed; the first Pediatric Sepsis Definitions (also cited more than 1,000 times) was published (4); and, the National Institutes of Health funded Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network (CPCCRN, see: was formed, which now has contributed more than 25 high-impact publications to PCCM. By 2008, PCCM received its first impact factor (IF)–an astonishing 2.33, which is on a par with the best pediatric research journals. By 2011, the IF had climbed to 3.0. In 2014, PCCM reflected more the influence of WFPICCS, the meeting having been held in Istanbul; there was a marked increase in regional submissions to the journal. A further testament to the global reach of PCCM and WFPICCS’ international mandate is that the journal includes translations of selected abstracts in Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. In 2015, PCCM became a monthly publication. Now, it is the official journal of many pediatric intensive care societies around the world; and PCCM is recognized as a journal of SCCM, WFPICCS, the Latin American Society of Pediatric Intensive Care, and the Japanese Society of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care.

As the digital and social media (SoMe) age began to transform the landscape of communications and medical publications, PCCM was not left behind. In 2016, Pat’s inspired response was to appoint Sapna Kudchadkar as the SoMe associate editor of the journal. Along with a cadre of international ambassadors, the SoMe group first aimed to “tweet in the right language” new PCCM material “in the right time zone” as it was published (5). Also, over the last 5 years, the group has expanded its remit to include the innovative visual abstracts that accompany some journal articles and tweets.

Other milestones in PCCM’s history–that continue issue-by-issue and year-to-year–are supplements from speciality societies such as the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society (6), use of open access to broaden readership, and response to Almetric ratings. For example, Pat reveled in readers’ response with “off the chart” Altmetric rating to an article about bereavement (7). He had almost rejected the article, but took a chance by making it available as open access. Up to the present day, and the Coronavirus disease 2019 era, Pat has remained committed to the journal and been its consummate flag bearer. Now, ever gracious and strategic, Pat has made considerable effort to bring about a seamless and supportive transition to our new EIC, Robert Tasker.

Finally, some closing personal remarks about Pat. Growing up in a rough, ethnic neighborhood in Detroit, he always looks at the world through kind eyes and sympathizes with the underdog. Anyone who has continually supported the perennially underperforming Detroit Red Wings ice hockey team must be special! Pat has traveled to many parts of the world and seen the tremendous workload, overwhelming burden of disease, and pressures that international colleagues endure in their daily practice. He has an encyclopedic scientific knowledge and, armed with this knowledge, he has always been fair and taken account of inequities in resources and opportunity that plague many of our colleagues in resource-limited settings. Pat always seeks to “bring and blend” disparate entities, with equity, optimism, and generosity of spirit, without compromising the scientific integrity of PCCM. For all of these reasons, Pat is greatly respected, admired, and loved as a silver-maned statesman for pediatric critical care. Truly, the first 20 years of PCCM has been a “wild ride”, piloted by the editorial genius, elegance, drive, and vision of its masterful EIC, Pat Kochanek! Olé!


1. Parrillo JE. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: Another member of the critical care family. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2000; 1:1
2. Pediatric Acute Lung Injury Consensus Conference Group. Pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome: consensus recommendations from the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury Consensus Conference. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2015; 16:428–39
3. Carney NA, Chesnut R, Kochanek PM. Guidelines for the acute management of severe traumatic brain injury in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatr Crit Care Med 2003; 4:S1
4. Goldstein B, Giroir B, Randolph A, et al. International pediatric sepsis consensus conference: defintions for sepsis and organ dysfunction in pediatrics. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2005; 6:2–8
5. Kochanek PM, Kudchadkar SR, Kissoon N. Guiding Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Toward a Bigger “Impression” in 2017 and Beyond. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2017; 18:403–404
6. Salvin JW, Bronicki R, Costello JM, et al. Pediatric cardiac intensive care society 10th international conference 2014 consensus statement: Pharmacotherapies in cardiac critical care. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2016; 17 (3 Suppl 1):S1–S2
7. Butler AE, Copnell B, Hall H. When a child dies in the PICU: Practice recommendations from a qualitative study of bereaved parents. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2019; 20:e447–e451
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